Archive

Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

NYC in black & white

November 10th, 2014 12 comments

New York in Black & White

A reader asked me to re-up the broken link to this mix, first posted in early 2010. So here I post the whole shebang again, this time with covers, since I suspect some thoughtful children and grandchildren of people who witnessed the time this compilation recalls might want to give the mix as a Christmas present. As always, the thing is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. PW in comments.

I hope that this collection of songs about or set in New York, spanning 30 years, will find an audience. And I hope that some of these songs will inspire the listener to seek out more music by some of the artists who are largely forgotten now.

Here I think of the great Anita O’Day, featured here twice, an extraordinary vocalist whose lifestory would mirror any sordid rock & roll tale. Or Red Nichols, the innovative jazzman who is said to have recorded 4,000 songs before he turned 25. Danny Kaye played him in the 1959 biopic The Five Pennies, which also starred Bob Crosby, the younger brother of Bing, who was a vocalist and bandleader in his own right, though here he appears as a guest of The Dorsey Brothers, both of who feature in this mix heading their own bands.

Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey played with Sam Lanin as did two other future bandleaders included here: Red Nichols on the cornet and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. Lanin was more an arranger than he was a musician, but a 1920s hit factory nonetheless (Bing Crosby got his break with Lanin’s orchestra). By the late 1930s, Lanin had retired from the music business.

The Mills Brothers may be most widely remembered better for their 1952 proto-doo wop hit Glow Worm, but by then they were veterans in the music game, having started in 1928, paving the way for the similar Ink Spots. The brothers stopped performing 61 years later, in 1989 (by then having been decimated to two by death).

Dolly Dawn, known to her mother by the more demure name Theresa Maria Stabile, was a massive singing star in the 1930s and early ’40s. She was one of the very first female singers to lead her own band, the Dawn Patrol. Her career was cut short when many members of her band were drafted to serve Uncle Sam in WW2.

The 1920s and ’30s were the golden age of African-American vaudeville acts of the age of the tap dance and the soft-shoe, silver-capped canes and gleaming cufflinks, the Bojangles scene. Jimmy Lunceford, whose orchestra began as a high school band which Lunceford taught in Memphis, is perhaps the best example here of that influence on jazz, incorporating humour in the music (in much the some way the Italian Louis Prima would). Rumour has it that Lunceford died in 1947 after being poisoned by a restaurateur in Oregon who resented the presence of a black patron in his establishment. More extreme things happened in the sorry history of 20th century US racism.

TRACKLISTING
1. Anita O’Day – Take The ‘A’ Train (1958)
2. Tommy Dorsey & Jo Stafford – Manhattan Serenade (1943)
3. Dolly Dawn and her Dawn Patrol – Blossoms On Broadway (1937)
4. Mound City Blue Blowers – She’s A Latin From Manhattan (1935)
5. Louis Prima and his Orchestra – Brooklyn Bridge (1945)
6. The Dorsey Brothers feat. Bob Crosby – Lullaby Of Broadway (1935)
7. The Quintones – Harmony In Harlem (1940)
8. The Mills Brothers – Coney Island Washboard (1932)
9. Tempo King’s Kings Of Tempo – Bojangles Of Harlem (1936)
10. Albert Ammons & Pete Johnson – Sixth Avenue Express (1941)
11. Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra – Cowboy From Brooklyn (1938)
12. Judy Garland & Fred Astaire – A Couple Of Swells (1948)
13. Lee Wiley & Ellis Larkins – Give It Back To The Indians (1954)
14. Dinah Washington – Manhattan (1959)
15. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Autumn In New York (1956)
16. Gene Krupa feat. Anita O’ Day – Let Me Off Uptown (1941)
17. Cab Calloway Cotton Club Orchestra – Manhattan Jam (1937)
18. Mills Blue Rhythm Band – There’s Rhythm In Harlem (1935)
19. Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra – Slumming On Park Avenue (1937)
20. Artie Shaw and his Orchestra – To A Broadway Rose (1941)
21. Red Nichols and his Orchestra – The New Yorkers (1929)
22. Sam Lanin’s Orchestra with Jack Hart – The Broadway Melody (1929)
23. Frankie Trumbauer – Manhattan Rag (1929)
24. Leadbelly – New York City (1940)

GET IT!


More New York songs.

 

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, New York City Tags:

American Road Trip: New York Mix Vol. 5

November 25th, 2010 10 comments

And this will be the final New York mix. There are still plenty of songs that I have not used, but 92 New York-related tracks should suffice. In fact, I’ll add on eight tracks to round the number up to 100.

The timeline on this mix spans 116 years, which surely is quite unusual as far as mixes go. So we have the U.S. Marine Band from 1894 and two songs from outstanding 2010 albums, by the wonderful Caitlin Rose and Ray Lamontagne. I owe the Ben Sidran track to reader Marivic (thank you).

TRACKLISTING:
1. Velvet Underground – I’m Waiting For The Man (1967)
2. Death Cab For Cutie – Marching Bands Of Manhattan (2005)
3. Wallflowers – 6th Avenue Heartache (1996)
4. Bob Dylan – Hard Times in New York Town (1962)
5. John Lennon – New York City (1972)
6. Hank Ballard and the Midnighters – Broadway (1962)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Manhattan (1956)
8. Grover Washington Jr. – East River Drive (1981)
9. Tyrone Thomas and the Whole Darn Family – New Yorkin’ (1976)
10. Ben Sidran – New York State Of Mind (1975)
11. Albert Hammond – New York City Here I Come (1974)
12. Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs – New York City’s Killing Me (2010)
13. Dar Williams – Southern California Wants To Be Western New York (1996)
14. Caitlin Rose – New York City (2010)
15. Rufus Wainwright – Poses (2001)
16. Al Stewart – Broadway Hotel (1992)
17. Cat Stevens – New York Times (1978)
18. Eagles – In A New York Minute (1994)
19. Simon & Garfunkel – At The Zoo (1968)
20. U.S. Marine Band – Manhattan Beach (1894)

GET IT
or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

And here are eight more, to make it a century of NYC songs:
Christy Moore – Fairytale Of New York (1994).mp3
Ben E. King – Spanish Harlem (1961).mp3
B.J. Thomas – Eyes Of A New York Woman (1968).mp3
Counting Crows – Sullivan Street (live, 1998).mp3
Swift Jewel Cowboys – Coney Island Washboard (1939).mp3
Sex Pistols – New York (1977).mp3
Shinehead – Jamaican In New York (1992).mp3
Billy Murray – Take Me Back To New York Town (1907).mp3

.

NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 1
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 3 – New York in Black & White
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 4

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, New York City Tags:

American Road Trip: New York Mix Vol. 4

October 21st, 2010 6 comments

It has been a while since the last New York City mix. Depending on how well this one goes down, I think I might have another in me. The photo that illustrates this post comes from a beautiful series of colour photos of New York in the 1940s from the Charles W Cushman collection.

TRACKLISTING
1. Conor Oberst – NYC – Gone, Gone (2008)
2. Lou Reed – NYC Man (1996)
3. Steely Dan – Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More (1975)
4. Chicago – Saturday In The Park (1972)
5. Candi Staton – Nights On Broadway (1977)
6. Bob & Earl – Harlem Shuffle (1963)
7. Brecker Brothers – East River (1978)
8. Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (1981)
9. A-ha – Manhattan Skyline (1987)
10. Dar Williams – The Hudson (2005)
11. The Avett Brothers – Famous Flower Of Manhattan (2006)
12. The Statler Brothers – New York City (1970)
13. Steeleye Span feat. Peter Sellers – New York Girls (1975)
14. Belle & Sebastian – Piazza, New York Catcher (2003)
15. The Moldy Peaches – NYC’s Like a Graveyard (1997)
16. Fountains Of Wayne – Red Dragon Tattoo (1999)
17. Thomas Dybdahl – One Day You’ll Dance For Me, New York City (2004)
18. Suzanne Vega – Ludlow Street (2007)
19. Art Garfunkel – A Heart In New York (1981)
20. Horace Silver – Summer In Central Park (1973)
21. Sammy Davis Jr. – New York’s My Home (1956)
22. Bette Davis – Turn Me Loose On Broadway (1952)

GET IT
or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

.

NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 1
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 3 – New York in Black & White

Categories: American Road Trip, New York City Tags:

American Road Trip: New York Mix Vol. 2

October 9th, 2009 3 comments

It seems that the first New York City mix was well received, so here’s another one. There will be at least one more (or two, depending on how popular this one turns out to be), next time going retro in black and white — like all the great New York photos.

NY_plane* * *

TRACKLISTING
1. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Jules Munchin – New York, New York (excerpt) (1949)
NYC hook: It’s our three sailor friends’ first time in New York, and having just arrived on shore leave (happily in New York, not in LA where they might have gone on to beat up Mexicans), they already presume it to be “a helluva town” because “the Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down”. Additionally, “the people ride in a hole in the ground” (as they do in many other cities, so big deal, chums).

2. Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett – New York New York (1994)
NYC hook: Let’s face it, our boy from Hoboken was a promiscuous man when it came to American cities. Chicago? His kind of town! L.A.? It’s a lady he can’t say goodbye to. Las Vegas? He made it! And New York? Well, more of a challenge than a love affair; it seems. By the way, the song needs no fucking high-kicks, party goers.

3. Theme – Seinfeld (1989)
NYC hook: Would Seinfeld have worked had it been set anywhere else? Nah!

4. Klaatu – Sub-Rosa Subway (1976)
NYC hook: The song that caused speculation about a clandestine Beatles reunion. Alas, it was just a bunch of Canadians with a funny name singing about Alfred Beach, the man who built America’s first subway in New York, based on the London Underground. (More on Beach)

5. NRBQ – Boys In The City (1972)
NYC hook: You might leave New York for the country, but you’ll still sing about “the trees in the Park”.

6. Harry Nilsson – I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (1969)
NYC hook: New York as the new Jerusalem instead of its usual role as a fetid Babylon. So Harry makes his pilgrimage to the city permanent, leaving all his sorrows behind. Same year, he soundtracked Hoffman and Voight’s exit from bad, bad NYC.

7. Mason Jennings – New York City (2002)
NYC hook: Jennings is in love in and with New York City.

8. Kevin Devine – Brooklyn Boy (2006)
NYC hook: The eponymous lad is doing coke on his birthday, prompting Kev — rarely a herald of rampant cheer — to launch into an apocalypso.

9. Ian Hunter – Central Park N West (1981)
NYC hook: Hunter obviously hates living in stinky, crime-ridden, burning New York City. Except he doesn’t: “You’ve got to be crazy to live in the city, and New York city’s the best.”

10. Donavan Frankenreiter – Spanish Harlem Incident (2007)
NYC hook: A rather decent cover of Dylan’s 1964 song about having steamy, casual interracial sex.

11. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street (1972)
NYC hook: 110th Street is the street that divides Harlem and Manhattan. Bob is not painting a pretty picture of what lies at the other side of Manhattan: pimps and hookers, pushers and junkies jostling on the streets of “the capital of every ghetto town”.

12. Billy Joel – New York State Of Mind (1976)
NYC hook: The New Yorker might leave the city for Miami Beach or for Hollywood, but if they are anything like Bronx-born, Long Island-raised Billiam, they’ll miss the New York Times and Daily News (but not the Post, it seems) so much, they’ll feel compelled to return.

13. Ella Fitzgerald – Manhattan (1956)
NYC hook: On his wonderful radio show, Bob Dylan described the Rodgers & Hart song as a love letter to New York City. Who knew that Zimmerman had a way with words? Ella is full of giddy tenderness as she provides us with a partial road map of the city. Are pushcarts still gliding gently on Mott Street?

14. Hem – Great Houses Of New York (live) (2006)
NYC hook: Native New Yorkers Hem don’t need to mention the city in a song that incorporates its name in the title to prove that it’s set there. It suffices to refer to NYC’s winter climate as a metaphor for a dying relationship, a recurring theme in Hem’s beautiful songs..

15. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
NYC hook: The Mamas and the Papas lived in New York before moving to Hawaii and then to California. It seems fair to say that they didn’t dig New York — “every thing there was dark and dirty “ — and this is their fuck-you note to the city. Most likely, the Daily News won’t be enough to lure them back.

16. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977)
NYC hook: Two decades before Thingymajig Bradshaw in Sex And The City made her, erm, acute observations about the politics of sex, Odyssey had it already figured out: “No one opens the door for a native New Yorker.” So, like, take charge of your life yourself, girl!

17. Elkow Bones & The Racketeers – A Night In New York (1983)
NYC hook: A sadly ignored club gem whose horns sounds like New York traffic to me. Delicious.

18. Nicole with Timmy Thomas – New York Eyes (1985)
NYC hook: What in the name of all that’s ophthalmological are these New York Eyes that have short-lived soul starlet Nicole attracted to ’70s soulster Timmy Thomas (who I presume provides the groovy keyboard here)? Whatever they are, reciprocally gazing at Nicole’s NY eyes, they make Timmy feel good inside.

19. Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC (2005)
NYC hook: And it’s another love letter: “Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin, black, white — New York you make it happen.”

20. LL Cool J feat. Leshaun Williams – Doin’ It (1995)
NYC hook: Six people are credited with writing this droll ode to physical intimacy. None of them have sought to distance themselves from this lyrical gem which surely provides all the required evidence to support the notion that ladies really can’t help themselves but love Cool James. Mr Toddrattles off the specials on today’s hum menu: “It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny, conventional methods of makin’ love kinda bore me. I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G-spot’s soft” (you get hard G-spots? And, more importantly, how do you get away rhyming “off” with “soft”?). With Cool James, sex is a matter of territorial chauvinism, not unlike the so-called World Series. He points out that he represents Queens, whose residents may well jostle for prime bedside seats, the better to cheer on their local stud muffin. Cool James’ hopefully softly G-spotted friend was raised “out Brooklyn”, where she learnt to yearn for a “Big Daddy” who might “pull my hair and spank me from the back” and finish off with some “candy rain”. Just as the contender from Queens might, if his dick is as big as his braggadocio.

21. Ben Folds – Rock This Bitch (NYC version) (2004)
NYC hook: Some “motherfucker in Chicago” once shouted out “rock this bitch” at a Ben Folds gig, giving rise to a tradition whereby Folds (evidently reluctantly) improvises a new “Rock This Bitch” version on the spot. As he did in this recording from the 2004 Summerstage concert. “R.O.C.K. with your C.O.C.K. out, in N.Y.C.”

GET IT!
or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE
.

More New York songs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Beach#Subway

NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 1

September 16th, 2009 17 comments

Last time on our musical road trip through the USA we visited Philadelphia. It’s time now to hitch a helicopter ride to Gotham City. I am among the many who are profoundly fascinated by New York. Without ever having been there, I feel an affinity with the place (at this point I might invite the multi-millionaires among my loyal readers to come forward with offers for an all-expenses trip to NYC for me and my family). Obviously I’m not alone.

I thought I’d even make it two mixes. Then I began shortlisting. The list grew longer and longer. Then I culled, ruthlessly. Sorry, Lou, just two songs for you. Ditto Paul Simon (though his songs have been widely covered, thereby qualifying for inclusion in the interpretation of others). Upshot: I have about a hundred songs about New York which I want to share. I promise you two mixes; if you want more after those, let me know.

 

1. Billie Holiday – Autumn In New York (1954)
NYC hook: When Harry repeatedly met Sally, his creepiness was relieved by the beauty of NYC’s fallen, brown leaves. I’m not sure that match-making via Harry Connick is what Billie had in mind. It’s beautiful nonetheless. No wonder the creep eventually managed to hook the rather attractive Sally, playing lovely music like this for, to and at her.

2. Ray Charles – New York’s My Home (1961)
NYC hook: Well, it’s his favourite city, not just a visiting place. It’s, as the title shrewdly implies, his home.

3. Bobby Darin – Sunday In New York (1964)
NYC hook: Ah, those innocent days when shops would be closed on Sundays, and there’d be nothing better to do than window shopping — and sing infectiously upbeat songs about it.

4. Ad Libs – Boy From NY City (1964)
NYC hook: Well, there’s a boy, and he’s from New York City, and a girl named Kitty, for reason of rhyme, is urged to tell us about him. We learn that he is no clown, which is a relief.

5. Harpers Bizarre – 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) (1967)
NYC hook: Slowly following the S&G city map, Harpers Bizarre are finding cause to feel pretty good — or groovy, in the era’s vernacular. As the title might have told you. What else can make you feel groovy?

6. Gerard Kenny – New York, New York (1978)
NYC hook: It’s safe to say that Gerard Kenny likes New York. In his enthusiasm, he claims inaccurately that on account of how good the city is, it was named twice, like the father of English footballing brothers Gary and Phil Neville. Of course we know that his Sesame Street level assertion does not correspond with reality, yet we would feel guilty disabusing him of his error. It would crush him, no doubt.

7. Russ Ballard – New York Groove (1975)
NYC hook: A little under a decade after people were feeling gently groovy, Russ thumped us with the NY GROOOVE, symbolising the transition from weed to coke. Ex-Argent member Ballard wrote the song, but didn’t release it. Instead, Hello in 1975 and Ace Fehley of Kiss in 1978 had hits with it.

8. Nicole Atkins – Brooklyn’s On Fire (2007)
NYC hook: It’s Independence Day and, Nicole counsels us, Brooklyn is on fire. Not literally, even though the chorus does sound deceptively alarming. It’s the fireworks, and romance is in the air. Fantastic song.

9. Ramones – Rockaway Beach (1977)
NYC hook: Joey and his “brothers” go to the Beach. The Surfin’ USA for New Yorkers.

10. Bruce Springsteen – Sherry Darling (1980)
NYC hook: New York traffic is a bastard, and more so when you have to ferry around your nagging future mother-in-law. Our Bruce likes his Sherry, but one more word out of Mom, and she walks.

11. Ryan Adams – New York New York (2001)
NYC hook: Ryan loves New York a lot, and this is his declaration of love. The video for this song was filmed four days before 9/11, and apparently the song played on loop for days after the attack. Apologies to New Yorkers in whom this track evokes horrible memories.

12. Elliot Smith – Amity (1998)
NYC hook: This mix is like a soap opera. Remember Kitty who told us about the boy from New York City? Well, it seems the Boy from New York City has returned to New York City, with Kitty. “Hello, hello Kitty, happy in New York City.”

13. Bright Eyes – Old Soul Song (For The New World Order) (2005)
NYC hook: The only song in this mix not to mention New York, its geography or landmarks. But it is set in New York, describing the big February 2003 demonstration against George W Bush’s illicit, indefensible declaration of war against a state that posed no threat to his country’s security. As we knew then, if we were ready to refuse to believe the brazen lies peddled by Dick, Don and Dubya, and their gurning poodle in Britain.

14. Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go (2007)
NYC hook: A broken heart in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty as a prop. Without wishing to engage in undue hyperbole, this is a most beautiful song.

15. Rufus Wainwright – Chelsea Hotel No 2 (2006)
NYC hook: Casual celebrity oral sex; it’s the New York way. The cover may be even better than Laughing Len’s original.

16. Everything But The Girl – The Only Living Boy In New York (1997)
NYC hook: One person leaves New York, the other stays behind. The second Simon & Garfunkel cover in the mix, and I have two more of their songs lined up…

17. Mondo Kané feat. Georgie Fame – New York Afternoon (1986)
NYC hook: We’ve had Billie Holiday in autumn and Rosie Thomas in winter; here Mondo Kané and Georgie Fame (produced by soon-to-be-evil-but-still-excellent Stock Aitken Waterman) enjoy a nice summer afternoon in various New York landmarks.

18. Prefab Sprout – Hey Manhattan! (1988)
NYC hook: And coming in on the flight after Mondo Kané’s are wide-eyed tourists Prefab Sprout, admitting to being entirely star-struck. Brooklyn Bridge, 5th Avenue (where Sinatra walked), JFK hang-out The Carlyle… But look out for the denouement as our tourist friends become aware of New York’s class division.

19. Neil Diamond – Brooklyn Roads (1968)
NYC hook: Neil grew up in Brooklyn. No dazzled observations about famous landmarks and celebrities here. Reminiscing on his childhood, Neil is smelling cooking in the hallways of his block; I get the scent of Mrs Diamond’s boiled cabbage. Wistfully, he imagines a new generation of children living in his old room, perhaps dreaming, as he did, of busting loose.

20. Gil Scott-Heron – New York City (1976)
NYC hook: You’d think angry Gil would hate New York. But he doesn’t. He loves it. Not quite sure why. Nothing much wrong with it, he says. And that’s Just as well, seeing as the city reminds Gil of himself.

21. Steely Dan – Brooklyn (1972)
NYC hook: The charmer under me is…the guy who lived below Fagen and Becker in Brooklyn. All there is to it.

22. Lou Reed – Dirty Blvd. (1989)
NYC hook: Face it, Lou Reed could sing ice cream commercials on a gondola or pack a surf board on a beach surrounded by gaggle of busty blondes, and whatever he was singing would still be about the grime of New York City’s underbelly. The Venetian gondolier would be a pimp, the surfer a pusher and the busty blondes junkie hookers. It’s what our man Lou does.

23. Bob Dylan – Hard Times In New York Town (1961)
NYC hook: Young Bobby Zimmerman escaped from cold Minnesota to Greenwich Village and joined the folk circuit. Recorded before he released his (not terribly good) debut album, we can sympathise here with the complications he is facing in his adopted home.

24. Bob James – Angela (Theme from Taxi) (1978)
NYC hook: What would a series of songs about New York be without reference to the yellow cabs. Taxi was, of course, the show about, well, taxis which brought together Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Jeff Conaway, Carol Kane, Randall Carver, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman.

GET IT
(PW in Comments)

.

More New York songs